As Grays Harbor in Aberdeen is “beefing up” its police presence in the anticipation of anti-war protesting, Port Militarization Resistance groups (PMR) in Western Washington are organizing their resistance against the port’s shipment of Stryker vehicles and Apache helicopters.
PMR groups have anticipated Sunday, May 6th as the largest day of protest in Aberdeen this week, and welcome all sympathizers and anti-war activists to join them in peaceful demonstrations and direct-action. Groups are said to be meeting at the corner of 28th and John Stevens Way all week.
Aberdeen, just fifty miles West of Olympia, was chosen by Ft. Lewis as the new site for shipments of Iraq-bound war supplies–which ship ahead of the troop units assigned to them. After protests in Tacoma and Olympia have proved too burdensome for riot police, strategists believed Aberdeen would be too removed from hotbeds of anti-war politics to gain significant attention. But the strong anti-war movement has become vigilant, and recently reported new Stryker arrivals yesterday morning and earlier this week.
“We will fight this until we move them all the way south to Mexico,” a student at the University of Puget Sound and Tacoma SDS member said.
YouTube videos from the Port of Tacoma gained the Port Militarization Resistance national notoriety. The videos filmed by several students have been helpful in a number of trials involving protesters implicated in misdemeanor crimes. Police footage from the protest has yet to be released.
“Unless [the police] were documenting actually illegal activity,” says attorney Larry Hildes, “it was illegal of them to tape.”
Six Tacoma SDSers met with Tacoma Police representatives on Wednesday to inquire about police tactics used at the Port of Tacoma in March. The spokesmen were generally apologetic, and had few answers to questions regarding the alleged barricades “thrown” at police by protesters. Tacoma SDS continues to investigate what it sees as dishonest and unjust behavor on behalf of its police department.
Meanwhile, protests in Aberdeen have already begun to mount. Aberdeen Police Captain Dave Johnson says a few people have gathered at Zelasko Park yesterday. The Aberdeen Police Department has been notified that the PMR groups intend to hold a peace rally, which will grow as the full military transport pulls into the port.
Local groups have sought parade permits in the City of Aberdeen. Since PMR has a reputation for civil disobedience, however, it is likely that the “free-speech zones” designated by police will be ignored in order to express the geographic non-limitability of free-speech.
Protesters will likely be organizing into smaller groups identifying themselves by the strategies they are interested in. Communication and contact-persons between police and protesters, which was a noted “police failure” in Tacoma, has not been established at this point.
For more information visit United For Peace Pierce County: